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A Radish At Etsy.org

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We’re proud to share that Radish’s CTO, Edward Wisniewski has joined Etsy’org’s inaugural cohort for the Brooklyn Regenerative Entrepreneur Program Pilot. Each week, we’ll be reposting Ed’s blog from the Etsy.org program so you can follow along on his journey.

The Regenerative Entrepreneur Program is designed to be participatory, emergent, and experiential business education. In this educational program, human development practices like daily reflection, exploration and insights into social, economic and natural systems-thinking, business skills are woven together. In addition to lectures and lessons from successful entrepreneurs, each participant will spend time in nature, partake in group and individual reflective workshopping, and receive mentorship.

Each of the twenty-two entrepreneurs participating in the cohort will be a co-designer of this program. Recognizing the diverse backgrounds and skills of our cohort, each participant has the opportunity to offer their “gift” through co-creating learning experiences or lessons at one or more points during the pilot. All work in the program will move beyond the abstract as these entrepreneurs apply the lessons and reflections to their businesses.

On fear…

When I quit my corporate job to start Radish Lab three and a half years ago, I had a lot to lose. At the time I was already a father of two girls (now, the father of three), and I wasn’t only gambling with my future, but theirs too. Up until that point, I had been chasing what I thought was my American dream. I believed in the importance of building a strong financial foundation; you build your bank account up, get a 401k, start a retirement account, buy a house, start saving for your children’s education. That’s what my parents did.

Starting your own business doesn’t really follow those rules. I was afraid that I would fail the very people that I was suppose to be working for, and afraid that I didn’t have what it would take to make it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I needed that fear to wake me up. I needed it to help me realize that what I was working towards wasn’t what I actually wanted. I needed it to challenge me to work harder, faster, better.

Like all true procrastinators, when the fire is underneath me, I know I am capable of amazing things. In the absence of fear, or maybe adrenaline, my focus isn’t as clear.

Things I’m Committing to…

Years from now, when I look back on my life, I want to know I’ve done my best work. For me that goes well beyond excelling in my craft –  I want to be my own changemaker, contributing to solutions that are actually helping people. I want to be proud of what I’ve accomplished and I want my children to be proud. In my journey to achieve this I need to practice flexibility and adaptation, keep learning and asking questions, and focus on health and honesty. I now find myself longing to reflect and grow in the same way I did in Radish’s first year in business.

Think of the best team you have ever been a part of — what made that group great and what is one way that we can emulate this here?

Our first year in business was an intense period of growth for me. I had never started a business before, let alone run one. Even though we had yet to fully understand what kind of company we were building, it was this early version of Radish that was the best team I’ve ever been apart of. The feelings of “new” and “change” truly made each experience an emotional one. I didn’t just have a job anymore, I was building a company. During that time I made some unlikely friends and relationships that I still deeply value today. It wasn’t necessarily the composition of our team that made it great, but the journey that we were taking together. For me, building something from the ground up is a rewarding experience, but doing it collaboratively brings it to a whole other level.

Today, the team we have at Radish is something entirely different. We have worked for the last three years to build a culture and team of people who share similar values. We hold each other accountable, and have worked hard to build a culture of flexibility and trust. We share with each other, and I can honestly say, the people who show up to our office every day are some of the best, most talented, respectful people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

What success looks like to me…

I have a vision for Radish Lab that I’ve used as a symbolic carrot on a stick. To me, the future of Radish Lab isn’t really as an agency, but instead a space where creativity and real impact converge. I don’t want to simply be part of a client services company, but part of a movement, one that uses the amazing technologies that exist today to help solve problems that affect our local community. I want to use Radish Lab to change the world in the way that it has changed me. I’ve been shedding the layers of misconceptions that had previously left me feeling empty only to see who I am truly capable of being.